Although webinars have been around for a while, their popularity has only continued to grow – the market is poised to approach $1 billion in the next decade. This is mainly due to the fact that they’re such an effective marketing tool. A webinar gives you a conversation at scale, which no other platform can deliver. And yet, webinars aren’t always treated with the attention they deserve and sometimes come across as overly scripted or just plain boring. The challenge for webinar hosts is making their presentations more engaging, personalized and interactive.
First, let’s take a look at some data. Our Big Book of Webinar Stats analyzed over 350,000 webinars hosted by GoToWebinar, and the results suggest there are some data-supported, practical strategies for making webinars more engaging.
The study gave every webinar an attendee engagement score, based on criteria including whether attendees asked questions, how much time they remained in attendance and whether they responded to polls. Average scores above 60 represent highly engaged attendees who are more likely to turn into high-quality leads. However, the average score for demand generation webinars was only 42.4 in 2017. So, how can you earn a higher score for your webinar? Here are some ways to model your webinars after those that scored the highest —
First off, turn on your webcam! Turning yourself from a faceless voice into a real person is a great first step toward getting people to pay attention to you and care about what you have to say.
The next step is to have fun. You may take your presentation very seriously, but that doesn’t mean you have to take yourself too seriously. If you get nervous, don’t forget that the more preparation you do beforehand, the more comfortable and present you’ll be when the day comes, allowing your personality to shine through. Having a co-presenter can be great for playing off of another person in a fun way, not to mention having someone to help handle Q&A.
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Engage with polls, prizes, handouts, and surveys
Q&A sessions are just one of several tactics for engaging an audience. Another one is prizes – early on in the session, offer a prize for the most engaged participant. Awakening your attendees’ competitive spirit makes the webinar more memorable while incentivizing people to ask more questions turns the session into more of a conversation.
According to our research, handouts were only used in 10 percent of demand gen webinars last year, while polls were used in 14 percent and surveys in 16 percent. These are each tried-and-true methods for boosting engagement, and this data suggests that they are being underutilized.
Use a proven title format
The webinars that drew the biggest crowds last year were presented in a list format, i.e. “10 Underused Methods for [blank].” The list is a longtime marketing favorite and the numbers continue to back it up. Lists convey clear value to the audience and have obvious takeaways.
The next best format was “how-to,” which, again, communicates from the start that there will be actionable takeaways. “101” titles also did well. These work best when you’re covering a trending topic that people want to learn about. All this may sound obvious or, well, boring but if you want results, it’s best to go with what the data tells us is most effective.
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Use Strong Images
Powerful images are the backbone of a good presentation. Filling an entire slide with a single high-res, attention-grabbing picture, with just one or two words in front of it will pique the attention of your audience. It also provides the hidden benefit of giving a visual queue for the presenter, if you happen to lose your train of thought.
As for the pictures themselves, pop culture always works, since it’s an easy, common reference point. If you’re looking for something more striking, find a source for images like Deviant Art, which is a site where artists share their work and, if you ask nicely, you may get to use something you like. Another option is mining the internet for memes and .gifs, which are always entertaining.
Finally, in terms of visuals, don’t forget to follow the basics – keep the slides clean, use a large font and include as few words as possible. People can read faster than you can present and you want them engaging with you, rather than reading.
Seventy-three percent of B2B marketers and sales leaders say a webinar is the best way to generate quality leads. It’s time to start making the most out of this powerful tool!
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